Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner appeared in a public event for the first time since the August 13 primaries. In her speech, she touched on Argentina’s economic crisis, her administration’s track record and the current political landscape after far-right libertarian economist Javier Milei won the PASO elections.
“It is not true that people have turned right-wing. We are wrong if we think people have gone right-wing or left-wing,” Kirchner said. “Wanting to live well and with dignity is not inherently right-wing, it’s being Argentine.”
Kirchner spoke Saturday at the Metropolitan University for Education and Labor (UMET, by its Spanish acronym) during an event in which she presented a new edition of the book Después Del Derrumbe (“After The Collapse”), which compiles conversations between Néstor Kirchner, her late husband and former Argentine president, and former Culture Secretary and Italy Ambassador Torcuato Di Tella in 2003.
Kirchner apologized to those who felt let down by the current government and said that ruling coalition Unión por la Patria (UxP) needs to assess their own administration.
“[…] There was so much hope and expectations, and we couldn’t deliver,” the vice president said, referring to people’s inability to pay rent and frequent teachers’ strikes. “I want to say I am sorry if we could not fulfill [the expectations], but believe me, I’ve tried many times.”
“Now we need to move forward, because we need the Argentine society to know what the problem with our economy is.”
The vice president talked at length about the Argentina economy, which she often describes as “bimonetary” — a de facto dual-currency system due to the prevalence of the US dollar. According to Kirchner, the devaluation of the peso is central to understanding the country’s economic problems, contending that conditions imposed by the International Monetary Fund impede Argentina’s ability to develop policies that benefit all sectors.
“The price increases we see in [supermarkets’] shelves have to do with the constant devaluation of the peso, because the issue is that dollar shortage causes inflation in Argentina,” Kirchner said.
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“I know [talking about what went wrong in the government] is a critical topic. But we need to discuss it without getting angry, because these guys [referring to the far-right La Libertad Avanza] are coming to question everything,” Kirchner added, mentioning some of Milei’s proposals like vouchers to pay for public education.
The vice president also talked about the multiple legal cases open against her for alleged corruption during her two consecutive terms (2007-2015) and the murder attempt she suffered a year ago at the front of the building where she lives.
“Those who think they can break me don’t know me. Dead or in jail, I don’t care. I will never be silent,” Kirchner said.
On Monday, the Federal Chamber of Criminal Cassation reopened two cases against Kirchner, sending them to oral trial. The cases in question are Hotesur-Los Sauces — for which Kirchner’s son Máximo will also have to stand trial — and the Memorandum of Understanding with Iran. According to Télam, Kirchner’s defense is preparing to appeal the decision this week.
— with information from Télam.